Jorge Téllez

Wolf Humanities Center Faculty Fellow

20182019 Forum on Stuff

Jorge Téllez

Assistant Professor of Romance Languages, University of Pennsylvania

Jorge Téllez is Assistant Professor of Romance Languages in the Department of Hispanic and Portuguese Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. His work centers on the colonial period in Latin America, with emphasis on Mexican literatures and cultures. He is the author of a book on 16th and 17th-century poetics in Spanish America (Poéticas del nuevo mundo, Siglo XXI Editores, 2012), and is completing a book titled Precarious Narratives. The Picaresque and The Writing Life in Mexico, 1690-2013. His current research and teaching interests focus on how colonial legacies in Latin America have shaped modern and contemporary cultural practices and institutions.

Colonial Collections: Value, Objects, and Narratives of the Past in Contemporary Mexico

This project examines the role of colonial objects in contemporary Mexico. Instead of looking at the textual history of objects from a representational perspective, I study how the practice of collecting has been fundamental to the development of a Mexican national identity that relies on objects to advance a discourse of value of the past. I argue that the valorization and meaning of objects cannot be separated from the ways in which our society produces and understands cultural, artistic and economic value. Ultimately, this project aims to answer the following questions: In what material forms is the colonial past still alive in Mexico? What objects, and how, have become at the same time mediators of the relationship between past and present, and the foundation of national discourses on the past? This is the first stage of a research project that aims to study cases from all Latin America.